UAE and Saudi Leaders to Attend Italy’s G7 Summit as Meloni Strengthens Gulf Relations

UAE and Saudi Leaders to Attend Italy's G7 Summit as Meloni Strengthens Gulf Relations

In North Africa, migration and energy-related interests remain central while Italy seeks Saudi investment and closer gas ties with the UAE.

Saudi’s Prince Salman, and President of the Emirates Al Nahyan, are among Middle East leaders who have been asked to attend the Italy meeting on Thursday. This is one of the things that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wants to do to improve ties between Rome and the Gulf Kingdoms.

Italy’s southeast region will be the venue for the annual summit of this forum, which is composed of seven major economies – United States, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan-without forgetting its name-G7”(Cited in Sakallioglu, 2006). My Rewrite: The G7 is a forum for intergovernmental cooperation among the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan on world economic and political affairs. In the country’s southeast, the group’s annual meeting will take place at the prestigious Borgo Egnazia Hotel.

More than a dozen countries and entities have been invited by Italy for the meeting this year which will go from Thursday until Saturday. The Middle Eastern or North African leaders below will attend the function as per its website:

UAE and Saudi Leaders to Attend Italy's G7 Summit as Meloni Strengthens Gulf Relations

UAE’s President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Jordan’s King Abdullah II

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Tunisian President Kais Saied

Saudi media said that the Saudi Crown Prince had been invited and Reuters also reported regally last week that he would go but there is no mention of his name yet in any list of participants of the mentioned event to be held this Thursday. If he shows up, this will be his premier visit to a G7 session.

Among those in attendance are the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the President of Argentina Javier Milei, the President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as well as the President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina.

Press reports state that; in its program, this year, the forum will have sessions on the Middle East, Ukraine, migration, economic security in the Indo-Pacific region, climate change and development in Africa, and energy and artificial intelligence in the Africa-Mediterranean region. It is also scheduled that bilateral meetings will be held on Saturday. “The session on Ukraine will also be attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” reported Reuters.

“Why it matters: It is interesting to note that the crown prince’s visit at that time coincided with an Italian interest in the Saudi capital. Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso told the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum in September that Rome sought Gulf funding for the “Made in Italy” fund. Urso mentioned that, according to the Saudi Arcal News, Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund was part of the Gulf funds that Italy was targeting.’

Italy said that it created the sovereign cash of $1.1 billion in May last year to invest in such companies that are important to the Italian industrial system including crucial raw materials and energy.

UAE and Saudi Leaders to Attend Italy's G7 Summit as Meloni Strengthens Gulf Relations

“Last year Saudi Arabia sent to Italy goods worth $6.94 billion, most of them being oil. At the same time, $4.04 billion worth of Italian goods entered Saudi Arabia among which were furniture, pastry products, cars, etcetera. In 2022 the joint trade amounted to about $11 billion, which is more than $9.5 billion worth of trade recorded in 2021 based on the Observatory of Economic Complexity.”

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, Saudi Finance Minister, was the person who showed up at Italy’s G7 Finance Ministers meeting last month. The Saudi Press Agency which is the official news agency reported that this meeting was based on four issues/concepts namely: AI (artificial intelligence), cross-border payments globally; development in Africa, and the financial demands for poor countries.

Italy and the United Arab Emirates share trade bonds that are growing at the same pace. UAE exported $2.75 billion to Italy in 2022 having refined petroleum valued at $646 million on these exports. On the other hand, Italy exported $6.52 billion worth of commodities to the UAE that year, among which was jewellery which totaled more than $1.19 billion. Therefore, the bilateral trade between these two countries amounted to approximately $9.25 billion in 2022 up from around $8.8 billion in 2021 as per the observatory.

Italy announced an end to its arms embargo on the UAE in May last year. “Al-Monitor” author Jonathan Fenton-Harvey stated that Italy considers the UAE strategic due to some reasons, one of which is natural gas from the Gulf Region.

Tunisian and Algerian representation at the G7, after Meloni’s recent visits to the region, is worth knowing more about. She visited Tunisia last April and signed deals[17] to boost economic prospects for people there as well as to stop them from coming into her country by crossing the Mediterranean Sea (The Associated Press).